Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) provide real-time information to motorists regarding traffic accidents, roadway maintenance and construction, heavy congestion, emergencies, and other traffic delays. Information is transmitted via the Internet, television, rest area kiosks, in-vehicle displays, radio, cellular telephone, and changeable message signs.
As a result of this newly emerging technology, our travel demand models require data on how travelers' mode and route choice decisions are affected by ATIS. However, very few opportunities to collect this type of information exist because implementation of ATIS technologies into transportation systems is limited and is still in the early stages of development. Therefore, alternatives to the typical data collection methods are needed. Typical approaches for collecting data for route choice modeling purposes include mail-based surveys, telephone surveys, and Internet surveys. More recently, however, researchers have been utilizing computer simulation programs as data collection tools to better understand drivers' behavior in relation to ATIS. The objectives of this effort were to develop a simulation tool that would enable researchers to study the relationship between mode/route choice decision-making and ATIS. The goal is to better understand the complex of decisions, including the multi-modal aspects of travel, made by travelers and to collect data that support the incorporation of the effect of ATIS into travel models. The research also investigates how travelers' choices (mode and route choices) would be affected if ATIS technology allowed them to have real-time pre-trip and en-route traffic information on the network.